Grinduro 2021 Machynlleth Wales.
Now, if you felt a little bit helpless and alot a bit jealous watching on as the sun was shining on all the fun times being had at the weekend, know you weren’t alone. I know Wales is a rather large and beautiful country but it just couldn’t host all of us from the wider gravel grinding, singletrack slaying, footpath pootling community.
Which is why I thought it would be best to get the inside scoop from a few people who did have the opportunity to dive in to what Grinduro 2021 had to offer during the steamy hot weekend that it was hosted over.
It really is all about perspective with these things ya know, and from each of the brief summaries you should be able to get a good idea of what the event was really like, and why you’re going to want to get a place for next years Grinduro.
Claire Frecknall :
Adventure Cycling Guide and Mason x Hunt supported rider
“Grinduro is the perfect gravel race for those who don’t like to race, the emphasis is heavily on good vibes, fun riding and hanging out with likeminded people. Sure you can push yourself on the timed segments until your legs burn and you’re gasping for air but no one gives a monkeys if you’d rather be chatting to your new found friends.
The riding is pretty technical so maybe not ideal to those recently transitioning to gravel riding from road but there was absolutely no shame in getting off and stumbling your way down the few slate filled MTB trails involved. Luckily the organisers decided against timing these segments or they would have been sweeping broken bikes and bodies up all day.. We all know how over excited some of us can get when there’s a timer ticking.
The one timed downhill section was offered as a technical A-line with a couple of steep banks, rocks and roots or a “I just want to get down safe and have a beer” B-line version.
Then the reason we all really came, finish line beers, time to sit in the sun, chat bikes, adventure and life. Bump into all those people we’ve not had chance to see while we’ve been locked away in our homes over the last 2 years. Music, drinks and a real feel of community, it was bloody brilliant.”
Katherine Moore :
ADVNTR Contributor, freelance writer and creator of East Devon Gravel
“After packing for what we expected to be really wet weekend in mid wales we were pleasantly surprised to have three days of glorious sunshine in the hills. In the morning it was incredible, we are all plastered with so much dust from all the fire roads, singletrack and moorland just north of Machynlleth in the dyfi Forest.
The first timed stage was absolutely stunning, but i had to take some breaks for photo opportunities (aka. to get my breath back). The singletrack segments between the stages were some of my most enjoyable parts of the morning, only just pipped by finding an incredible wild swim spot under the bridge just before getting back to Machynlleth and making some of my new found friends take a splash with me.
The afternoon was a massive struggle for me mentally and physically as i was just feeling really knackered, due to so much climbing combined with the heat, but, once i got halfway through and I met Emily Wormald who gave me a jelly dinosaur that absolutely saved me along with a well needed pep talk I absolutely loved it.
The last stage that closed with a techy descent into the arena where everyone was cheering you on and waiting to have this amazing party was just incredible, so all in all it was absolute corker.
The hangover ride the next day, which thankfully I wasn’t too hungover for was perfect chatting to friends I hadnt seen in years and speaking to the ones id made over the days previous. Some excellent people were met and got talking to so many id actually pretty much lost my voice, the days pace was much slower and there was alot more stopping for pictures and just catching up. Just an awesome social ride that was a really good way to wrap up the weekend.
Vera Ngosi :
Named as 1 of the 100 women in cycling by We Are Cycling, Recent finisher of the Pan Celtic Race, and the recipient of the Ultra Distance Scholarship.
“As a newbie to the world of gravel riding/racing, Grinduro was the perfect intro to this. When I arrived on camp on the Friday, it was evident what an inclusive event this was going to be. I met so many people of various experience levels from all over the country. There was a very chilled vibe to it and the live music was giving me all the right festival feels.
Race day delivered on the perfect party/race balance. What I loved most was that you had short timed stages where you could go all out, but for most of the course, you got the chance to enjoy it at a relaxed pace with friends, and had the opportunity to take in the glorious views and take loads of photos.
The terrain was more gnarly than expected, and it felt more suited to a mountain bike than gravel bike, and so I was grateful I made a last minute decision to bring my hardtail MTB which made it a bit more comfortable, especially as a beginner to off-road cycling.
Lastly, as a black woman, this was the first event I attended where I wasn’t the only one who looked like me. Attending as part of the ride4unity crew meant there was more representation of people of colour than I’m used to, and this added to the inclusive feel of the event.”
Saskia Martin :
Photographer and illustrator
“A bustle of excitement, and blessed with perfect weather, a scene was set across Machynlleth.
Grinduro a race that makes you question your skills as a rider and a climber. Where you go in cocky, ‘I got this’, but soon realise you’re not in Epping anymore, technical here means something totally different and you soon question everything you know and try to get out of your head. An atmosphere where you are welcomed, and where you all share the same passion for gravel, mud, and dirt.
A place where your friends question if those are tears or sweat going through your dust splattered face. A place where you finish and decide to wash in the local river before drinking and dancing the night away and getting 3 am phone calls asking for snacks. A place where you share tales of the day and applaud the winners and those who gave it their all.
Grinduro a race where any bike goes, and any rider goes, be it single speed or MTB, Pro or average Joe.”
Dan Monaghan :
ADVNTR contributor and Freelance photographer.
“It’s been 3 years since I was last on Arran with Grinduro and I can still remember it vividly. So many positive experiences… stunning gravel trails, new friends, party to race ratio on point and beautiful surroundings.
2021 saw Grinduro return, this time to mid Wales, Machynlleth. Format the same,with timed sections, chilled sections, camping, beers and good people.
The 2021 event was a fine return to form for Grinduro, the location amidst the Welsh mountains and forest was idyllic, the vibe was awesome, the route was challenging yet rewarding and people were still so so cool.
I was lucky enough to be out on the Canyon Grail:On chasing the race behind the lens, but a big part of me envied all those riding the event.
It also felt good to be back amongst like minded people in light of the recent, trying times.
Thanks Grinduro, where’s the 2022 sign up.”
In Summary –
Well i thought the mixed reports would help ease the envy and reduce the urge to sign up, but im already sat waiting for the sign up link for 2022 to go live.
Be sure to follow each of the riders above to stay upto date with what they’re getting upto and enjoy your riding wether its a paced solo or slow go, a group ride or to high tide.
Be safe and maybe you’ll find some of the same vibes out there at an event near you soon.
Last modified: 29th July 2021